Tomato soup achieves an entire new level of awesomeness with roasted tomatoes. I have a great recipe for roasting tomatoes picked fresh from the garden or plucked from the vegetable stand at the Farmer's market. You simply drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, and scatter fresh herbs on top. Then you put them in a relatively low-temperature oven for a few hours. When they're done, you run them through a food mill and they're ready for whatever sauce or soup you want them to shine in.
Fresh tomatoes: Fantasy vs. Reality
It's work, but when you have awesome, fat tomatoes from the peak of the season, it's worth it for making a beautiful tomato sauce.
But let's get real. It's the dead of winter. Let me clarify: it's 7 degrees outside. The tomatoes you find in the supermarket—unless you're willing to sacrifice a limb, or maybe your golden tooth—are...gross. REALLY gross. We're talking pale, mealy, sickly fruits that don't even REMOTELY resemble the voluptuous members of the nightshade family that grace our produce basket during the summer and autumn months.
So, friends, in this situation, I reach for a can of fire-roasted tomatoes. I blast it (juice and all) with an immersion blender, and it's good to go. I like a whisper of rosemary in my tomato soup: any more than that can overpower the tomato-ey goodness. To accomplish this, I add a sprig of rosemary for a quick, 1-minute saute. You want to be careful with the level of herbs you use anyway, or you risk making the soup taste more like marinara sauce.
Strain your soup!!
This roasted tomato soup gets its silkiness from being passed through a strainer to remove any tomato chunks, seeds, or skins (press firmly on the solids to get all of the good stuff through the strainer!). This reminds me...I once had a $10 bowl of tomato soup in a local restaurant: it had not been strained, and the consistency was EXACTLY like jarred marinara sauce. The fact that it tasted strongly of dried basil made it even MORE like marinara. I sent it back, although it did occur to me to ask for some plain pasta (TOO SNARKY).
You can easily transform the soup into a cream of tomato version (see riff in the recipe below). With or without cream, this roasted tomato soup is pure silken deliciousness, and it's really easy. It pairs perfectly with grilled cheese sandwiches. If you need a midwinter doldrums pick-me-up, this is your ticket.
For more pantry raid meal inspiration, check out Easy Pantry Meals – Living Out of Your Pantry (and refrigerator and freezer)!
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 14- oz. cans of fire-roasted tomatoes with juice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- For a cream of tomato soup riff:
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Puree the roasted tomatoes with their juice using an immersion blender or food processor.
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed (non-reactive) pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, and thyme; saute an additional minute. Remove the rosemary sprig.
- Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Add the broth, tomatoes, sugar, a generous pinch of salt, and a couple grinds of black pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the thyme sprig (if you can find it). Purée the soup until relatively smooth in small batches, using a blender or food processor (be sure to crack the lid of the blender and use a hand towel to protect yourself against steam and tomato-napalm burns).
- Clean out the pot and wipe dry. Return the soup to the pot, first passing it through a fine-mesh strainer and pressing on the solids to squeeze as much liquid through the strainer as possible. Warm to desired serving temperature.
- If you are using the Cream of Tomato Soup riff, add the cream and stir to combine.
- Serve. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g